Shabbat service at Buchenwald

Shabbat service at Buchenwald

“I walked into the Kinohalle (Cinema Hall) on Friday evening and there were at least 1000 people packed to the rafters. I got up on a small platform. I had a little G.I. prayer shawl and started with ‘Shalom Aleichem’ and slowly but steadily we were singing and praying. I had no prayer book. I had nothing other than my voice (without a microphone). Yes, I did have one very interesting something which I carried with me throughout my military career. I had a little chupah; sometimes the chaplain was called upon to officiate at a marriage ceremony. So I brought this little canopy, embroidered ‘mazal tov’ in Hebrew lettering, and put it on my little table serving as my ‘lectern.’ In a paper cup I poured some grape juice from the mess hall, and recited Kiddush. I led the service and after it was over, many many people gathered around me and I’ll never forget those moments! Everyone spoke Yiddish; the lingua franca was Yiddish. ‘Do you know where is . . .?’ ‘I have an uncle who lives in Chicago.’ ‘I have a niece who lives somewhere in . . .’ And on and on it went. They remained with me until late in the evening.”

– Rabbi Herschel Schacter

Note: The photo is of a Shabbat service at Buchenwald shortly after the camp was liberated. Rabbi Schacter, from the VIII Corps of the U.S. Army, led the services at the camp, though the quote may not be describing this specific service pictured.

Source: http://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/191171/the-chaplain-and-the-survivors, http://www.yadvashem.org/blog/remembering-rabbi-schacter.html